Schaeuble says temporary Grexit idea was backed by eurogroup majority


Germany’s outgoing Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has said that a proposal in 2015 that Greece take a “timeout” from the euro had been supported by the majority of eurozone finance ministers.

“That was the majority in the eurogroup, not me personally,” Schaeuble said in an interview with the Financial Times published Sunday.

He said that, as previously made public by Italian Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan, almost all eurogroup members agreed that a temporary Grexit would be better for the debt-wracked country.

“But we all knew that only Greece could make that decision. But we all said it would be better for Greece to take this step. But the heads of government had a different view, and they also had good reasons,” Schaeuble said.

Schaeuble, who was to attend his final meeting of his peers in the 19-country eurozone Monday, told the FT he had no regrets over the austerity medicine prescribed for those countries with high debt.

“I would argue with anyone – even more strongly now after eight years – that this policy generates more sustainable growth than any other,” he said.